Competition policy – more questions than answers

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said retailers will have concerns around the final recommendations of the Harper Review and how valuable an effects test would be under the proposed section 46 changes.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the proposed changes to section 46 provide little confidence that the proposal will work.

“The ARA will seek to work with the government and Minister Billson to find a workable solution – a solution which protects and allows for diversity of players.

“The Harper Review recommended deregulation of community pharmacies which is another concern for us.The small to medium retail sector is reliant on pharmacies in supporting activity centres and the ARA strongly recommends that the government commits to supporting community pharmacy.

“There are other areas in this report which can only be addressed by state governments. We have seen issues such as petrol pricing being corrected at both a Federal and state level and believe this process will continue.

“We are pleased the report recognises the impact that inflexible penalty rates has on operating hours within the globally competitive market.

“The ARA will continue to work with the government to create diversity and true competition within the retail sector,” Mr Zimmerman said.

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